4 May 2011

Youth job training programmes boosted

10:19 pm on 4 May 2011

The Government has announced a $55 million package of work and training subsidies for young people.

Prime Minister John Key unveiled the spending in Upper Hutt in his first pre-Budget announcement on Wednesday.

Mr Key says almost 18,400 people aged between 18 and 24 were receiving an unemployment benefit at the end of March.

To stem that, Mr Key has confirmed $17 million for employers to hire and train young people in high demand industries such as agriculture and aged care. Employers will receive a $5000 subsidy in the Skills for Growth programme.

Some $13 million will go toward expanding the so-called Job Ops scheme to include a new employers' subsidy of $5000 to cover training.

The Limited Service Volunteers military training programme will be expanded to take 1500 young people a year at a cost of $25 million.

Mr Key says the overall investment will ultimately get young people into jobs.

He says the expansion of the Limited Service Volunteers is new spending, but the rest of the package has been paid for by reshuffling Work and Income funding.

Mr Key says the controversial Community Max scheme, aimed at giving young people work experience, has been cut because it was expensive and always intended to be temporary.

Master Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers NZ says its employers should carefully consider the government subsidies. Chief executive Fiona Gavriel says the industry needs to take on more young people before a looming increase in workload.